Baseball America’s Bill Mitchell released both the Arizona Rookie League and Pioneer League Top 20 prospect lists this morning. The Cincinnati Reds were shut out of the Arizona Rookie League Top 20. They performed better in the Pioneer League where they had three prospects make the Top 20.

Let’s start with the Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects list. The Billings Mustangs had three representatives on the list with one surprise making the list and one surprise missing from the list. Jeter Downs, the Reds compensation 1st round pick in 2017 was the highest rated Mustang. He came in at #10 on the list. The shortstop hit .267/.370/.424 on the year with three doubles, three triples and six home runs.

Three spots down the list was Reds 2nd rounder Stuart Fairchild. He spent most of his season playing center for Billings, starting 43 of his 51 games in the field at the position. He hit .304/.393/.412 in 234 plate appearances with five doubles, four triples and three home runs. The former Wake Forest outfielder also stole 12 bases in 16 attempts.

It was the third player that made the list for the Reds that was a surprise. Packy Naughton, the 9th round pick in the 2017 draft, came in at #15 on the list. After struggling to keep runs off of the board in college (his ERA was over 6.00 in his last two seasons), the lefty performed quite well in Billings. Over 14 starts he posted a 3.15 ERA in 60.0 innings. That came along with 20 walks and 63 strikeouts.

The player that I expected to make the list that didn’t, was Miles Gordon. I’ve been hearing good things about him all year and he certainly performed. In 263 plate appearances for Billings he hit .319/.389/.530 with 15 doubles, five triples and eight home runs. He split his time in right and in center, but that was out of the need to get multiple guys playing time in center and not because he can’t handle center.

I wasn’t sure if Andy Sugilio would sneak onto the back end of the list, but he didn’t. Still, the 20-year-old hit .345/.390/.472 with 20 steals, 13 doubles, four triples and three home runs for Billings. He saw action at all three outfield spots, but like Gordon, can handle center field.

While I will assume that most of you will know before I type this, it’s worth typing: Hunter Greene did not pitch enough to be eligible to qualify for the list.

The Arizona Rookie League

In the Arizona Rookie League the Reds were shut out of the list. It’s a deeper league than the Pioneer League. The AZL has 15 teams, while the Pioneer League only has eight. That makes it tougher to crack the Top 20 list on it’s own, but as JJ Cooper noted, the league was incredibly deep this year in terms of prospects, too.

With that said, the Reds certainly had some notable prospects who performed in Goodyear. Mariel Bautista, a 19-year-old center fielder hit .320/.353/.395 on the year with 16 steals in 17 attempts. Shortstop Miguel Hernandez came up from the Dominican Summer League midseason to join the Reds. The 18-year-old shortstop hit .314/.338/.407 in 145 plate appearances. Reniel Ozuna, less talked about than the other two (though if you want to point fingers at me for this, feel free), also performed well. The 18-year-old outfielder hit .288/.351/.398 in 131 plate appearances. He also stole eight bases in 10 attempts while splitting time between center and right field.


18 Responses

  1. MK

    If this is strictly a prospect list and not an All Star team shouldn’t Greene have been at the top of the list?

      • MK

        Read it but again I thought it was prospect status not performance # 2 on Reds list at, #17 mlb list, #3 your list and he pitched and hit the same amount for them. Are there any Pioneer List guys any higher on MLB list.

      • Doug Gray

        He’d have been the #1 guy in the league had he pitched enough in the league to qualify for the list. But he didn’t.

  2. The Duke

    I think Packy Naughton got a half grade bump up based on name awesomeness alone.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s not the best name in the system ever, but it’s got to be up there. It’s pretty dang good.

  3. MikeD

    Somehow Greene’s omission is a reflection of the Reds poor choice, in drafting him! I figured I would beat others to making such a stupid comment!

    • Doug Gray

      As sad as it is, this is literally the only reason I added the sentence about Hunter Greene.

    • sultanofswaff

      Lol, right. That said, it made no sense to me to handle him so delicately. 30-40 IP would have been reasonable and still left him fresh for instructional league.

    • wes

      I agree w Sultan. There’s a middle ground. Calling Greene a lost cause is ridiculous, but there’s also a lot of negative story lines to go along w the hype.

      Great news on Downs being regarded so highly. I got a little cautious on him as the season continued and his state line seemed to drop. Seems like Reds had a pretty promising 2017 draft.

      • Doug Gray

        There are NO negative story lines except for the ones made up by crazy people looking for something to throw a fit about.

  4. Simon Cowell

    Aren’t we now at overstock levels with outfielders? Kind of crazy if you look at the talent levels we have both at the major league level and in The minors. Seems like the odds of trades is increasingly likely for some of our outfield talent

    • Doug Gray

      There’s a lot of outfielders, but they are mostly concentrated below Double-A. The picking up of the Greeneville franchise is big as it will allow some more playing time for legit guys next year, who otherwise may have been splitting time or playing out of position somewhat.

  5. Chris r

    I seem to remember a lot of complaints not too long ago about not drafting enough of bats and too much pitching. I think that with the addition of the greenfield team it’ll give these young lads some more opportunities to show /develop.. this is good stuff imoho.

    • The Duke

      Given that we should be about to start another 4-6 year window of competitiveness, I won’t be shocked if we’re looking at college pitching pretty heavy at #5 next June. Get either another wave of arms ready to hit in 3 years or trade pieces to put us over the top in the 2020-2022 range.

      • Wes

        Praying the next Kyle wright is there at 5 again next draft

      • The Duke

        A guy I’ve been looking into more and more that I’m really starting to like is Auburn RHP Casey Mize. Mid 90’s fastball, wipeout slider, lots of K’s, only 9 BB in 83.2 IP, SEC proven.

  6. Alex Reds

    It doesn’t make any sense that Miles Gordon didn’t make the list. Outstanding performance and tools and he’s appropriately young for the level.